Friday, October 30, 2009


For the second time in history baseball is being played on Halloween.

The first time, Tino Martinez hit a 2 out 2 run game tying homer in the bottom of the 9th and Derek Jeter hit a walk off shot... both off of Byung-Hyun Kim in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series.

That World Series was played on October 31st because September 11th delayed the playoffs by 10 days.

This World Series is delayed so Fox can promote Lie to Me.

Tomorrow night's game is, dare I say it, a must win for the Phillies.

Yeah I know the Phillies did what they needed to do to take home field advanage away from the Yankees.

But suddenly the Phillies find themselves in a tricky spot.

Cole Hamels is on the mound. Remember him? The dud who won the NLCS and World Series MVP last year?

A TV producer I know who will remain nameless is a big Phillies fan. He said the Phils should start J. A. Happ over Hamels.

I asked "You'd put Hamels in the bullpen?"

And he replied... and I quote... "F*ck him! Might help him grow up!"
(Asterix was added by me.)

So Hamels is a year has fallen from post season ace to an F bomb.

If Hamels earns that F bomb tomorrow and the Phillies fall 2-1, then Sabathia will take the mound in Game 4 and make a 3-1 hole very real.

So win this game Hamels. Show the same resolve and fight that Laurie Strode had in that closet.

Get the coat hanger and jab it in the Yankees eye!

If you don't stop them... the Yankees will keep coming back to you and even Dr. Loomis won't be able to save you now!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What is it with folksy good ole boy managers and Pedro Martinez in Yankee Stadium?

I don't think there is a Phillies fan alive who wouldn't have taken 6 innings 2 runs by Pedro Martinez in his Game 2 outing. Especially with a completely rested bullpen to throw innings 7, 8 and 9.

So when Pedro came out to start the 7th, I was surprised.

This isn't a second guess. I sat on my couch in South Pasadena and said "I can't believe he's staying in... take him out if he let's up a batter."

Do you know when I said that exact same sentence regarding Pedro Martinez in Yankee Stadium?

Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

I remember when he came out to throw the 8th after an entire season of going 7 innings tops, I thought "Odd... they haven't hit Williamson, Timlin nor Embree all series... take him out the second he lets up a hit."

With 1 out Jeter doubled and I said "Take him out now!"

And we all know what happened.

Well tonight I said the same thing... and when Jerry Hairston Jr singled I said out loud "OK, go to the pen."

And another gray haired good ole boy manager let him in a hitter too long.

The Yankees eventually scored that insurance run that gave the Yankees breathing room they would need.

Imagine the 2 runners on base in the 8th for the Phillies with only a 1 run deficit.

Imagine Ryan Howard coming to the plate representing the tying run... or Matt Stairs coming up with Ibanez at second as the tying run.

Well it is too late now...

The Phillies got the split in New York but on Halloween, the pressure falls back on the Phillies shoulders. They can't fall behind 2-1 and face Sabathia.

I was going to declare this is the beginning of a great series... but 2006 began with a split. The Cardinals won game 1, the Tigers won game 2 and it looked like it might be a long series.

Nope done in 5.

Last year the Rays and the Phillies split and it looked like the series was going to go on for a while. It did, but that was because of the rain delays and suspended games!

But if the Yankees and Phillies exchange wins in Games 3 and 4... this might turn into a classic.

Just let's hope Charlie Manuel squashes the Grady Little within.

New York and Philadelphia... World Series rivals BEFORE 1950

If you read or listened to World Series coverage this year, you'd think this was the second time New York and Philadelphia squared off in the World Series.

And it is true, the Phillies and the Yankees only played each other one other time... the 1950 World Series.

But well before the Phillies became THE team in Philadelphia and the Yankees became the dominating force in baseball, Philadelphia and New York squared off three different times with great teams that were the class of the American and National Leagues.

When the World Series was formed in the beginning of the 20th century, John McGraw's Giants were a powerhouse in the National League. And Connie Mack's Athletics were quickly becoming the best team in the American League.

Now of course that would be a Bay Area rivalry, but back then the Giants were the best team in New York and the Athletics ruled Philadelphia baseball.

The Yankees were known as the Highlanders and were inconsistent in the standings.
The Phillies were mediocre non contenders.

But New York and Philadelphia would meet in the 1905, 1911 and 1913 World Series.

Along with their larger than life manager, McGraw, the Giants featured Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson, Roger Bresnahan, Joe McGinnity and Rube Marquand.

Connie Mack, who was the very symbol of Philadelphia baseball for half a century, played future Hall of Famers Chief Bender, Eddie Plank, Rube Waddell, Frank "Home Run Baker" and Eddie Collins.

A pretty impressive array of talent in the pre-Babe Ruth era.

The Giants won the 1905 World Series, 4 games to 1. Christy Mathewson threw three complete game shutouts in six days. Safe to say he wasn't on a pitch count.

In 1911, the Athletics finally got to Mathewson in a dramatic Game 3. Frank "Home Run" Baker earned his nickname with a game tying homer with one out in the 9th inning off of Matty. The Athletics would score the eventual winning run on an error in the 11th.

The Giants would have some late inning heroics of their own in Game 5. One out from elimination, Doc Crandall hit an RBI double and Josh Devore singled him home to tie the game. Fred Merkle would drive in the winning run in the 10th.

But the Athletics would win big in Game 6 behind Chief Bender, 13-2.

Two years later, it would again be New York versus Philadelphia. In Game 2, Mathewson faced another future Hall of Famer, Eddie Plank.

Mathewson threw a 10 inning complete game shutout, driving in the winning run himself in the 10th.

But the Athletics won every other game and took the series in 5. Hall of Famer Eddie Plank out pitched Mathewson in the Game 5 finale.

So taking those three series and the 1950 World Series, Philadelphia and New York are now tied 2 series apiece.

They are playing the rubber match.

Hey look at that! I found a little MORE drama for the Philadelphia/New York match up!

Yeah Pedro is going to be dramatic but...

As one of the biggest Pedro Martinez fans that you will ever meet in your life, I am nervous about tonight's game.

Yankee bats aren't going to stay quiet two games in a row.

And the Dodger bats that Pedro quieted were not nearly as intimidating as the Yankee edition.

Plus there is the whole Daddy thing.

Besides, I think another left hander against this Yankee lineup would go a long way.

They have J. A. Happ waiting in the wings, and he pitched well in his lone start at Yankee Stadium (before *SURPRISE* Brad Lidge coughed it up.)

And besides, wouldn't there be a wonderful symmetry for Happ to go up against Burnett?

J. A. vs. A. J.!!!

It would be like a Sesame Street game!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Remote Won't Thwart Me THIS Year!!!!

I hate my remote control.

It is unnecessarily complex with more buttons and options than the cockpit of a plane.

And last year the insane construction of the remote caused me to miss the end of a Red Sox/Angels playoff game.

Well last night I had another run in with my remote that seems to have a chip on its shoulder, a la the HAL 9000.

I came home last night and watched an inning or two of the game before putting the boys in their bath. I had the radio on during the bath and was able to listen to Jon Miller instead of Joe Buck which is better anyway.

And my guys were able to wear themselves out splashing away in the bath and I got to hear the Phillies rally in the 8th inning.

It was time to go to put the boys to bed and I rushed over to the TV where my wife was watching Top Chef... a great show and tonight Natalie Portman was inexplicably one of the hosts this week.

I turn the channel to record the end of the ballgame. I see the game has spilled over to the next time slot on channel 11 in Los Angeles and the cable TV guide had "The Simpsons" on at this time spot.

I record the time slot and add the provision of an hour extra in case the game goes into extra innings.

Up we go to bed. I read the boys some Winnie the Pooh and Pamela Camel and then they were sound asleep.

I come back downstairs and listen to Queen Amidala tell some poor shmuck chef that leeks don't have enough protein.

And some cocky New York looking chef gets voted out even though all show he was saying "Hey... I'm not getting voted off! FUGEDDABOUTIT!"

And I wasn't antsy because I knew the 9th inning was being recorded and I was going to see the end of the game.

Then I looked at the cable box.
No red light.

It wasn't recording.

The extra hour I programmed didn't register. Maybe I didn't hit the right button. Why would I have? I mean I just hit "OK" when it asked me to confirm with enough strength to make blood shoot out of my thumb.

Clearly my remote wanted blood.

Now I was pissed.

Top Chef was over and I flipped on what the DVR had recorded.
It had recorded 15 minutes and it was starting at the top of the 9th with a runner on base.

If the game lasted for 16 minutes more, I would miss the end of it.

Ryan Howard hit an RBI double to make the score 6-0 and I thought "Oh man, this top of the 9th will last 15 minutes!" But then Shane Victorino tried to score and was tagged out by at least 348 feet. Going to the bottom of the 9th...

13 minutes to go.

And OF COURSE the Yankees started to rally.

They put a few men on... they score on an error... I know if Charlie Manuel goes to the pen, the warm up pitches and the commercial break would eat up the rest of the time!

He stays with Lee.

A-Rod strike outs... Lee faces Posada... only a few minutes left until the recording runs out.

Lee strikes out Posada... I get to see the end of the game.

And just as Carlos Ruiz runs up to shake Cliff Lee's hand, the screen goes blue and it asks "WOULD YOU LIKE TO DELETE THE SIMPSONS?"

If the game went on for another 5 seconds I would have missed the ending.

And I've seen enough Yankee games this year to know it is never over until that last out is made! Especially if Brad Lidge was coming out of the pen.

I exhaled and then looked at my remote... and laughed.

Not this year, overly complicated remote control... not this year!

I want Ramiro Mendoza to remain the answer to a wonderful trivia question

If Red Sox/Yankees was a category on Jeopardy, an answer could be "He is the only living player with World Series rings as a Yankee and a Red Sox."

And the correct response would be "Who is Ramiro Mendoza?"

Mendoza was a middle reliever on the 1998 and 1999 World Series rosters and in fact was the pitcher on the mound when the Yankees won the 1999 AL Pennant in Fenway Park (one of the few times Joe Torre let a pitcher other than Mariano Rivera finish off a series.) Truth be told, Mendoza should have been the series MVP over El Duque Hernandez, but that's another story.

In 2004, Mendoza was a member of the Red Sox. He pitched in the ALCS against the Yankees and had the dishonor of getting the loss in the 19-8 Game 3 massacre... it was also the last loss the 2004 Red Sox would have as they won the last 4 of the ALCS and all 4 games of the World Series.

That was it. The Babe Ruths and Carl Mays and all the other former Red Sox champs who were sold to the Yankees are all dead.

Mendoza remains alone.

But this year, two names threaten to join him.

Johnny Damon and Eric Hinske.

Damon everyone remembers (and some have forgiven.)

Hinske, lest we forget, was a seldom used pinch hitter on the 2007 Red Sox and is now a seldom used pinch hitter on the 2009 Yankees. But he was on the Division Series roster and is now on the World Series roster.

And last year, Hinske was a member of the Rays and struck out to end the series (and was then analyzed by my wife.)

I have nothing against Damon or Hinske and I appreciate all they did in a Red Sox uniform...

But I hope in a few weeks the answer to that trivia question remains simply "Ramiro Mendoza."

Mets fans... just sit this one out

Seriously... just don't watch the World Series.

There will be no joy in it for you.

Sure I have talked to most of my Met fan friends and the consensus agrees with this Newsday article that most will be rooting for the Phillies over the Yankees.

But there is no way you can be happy with that! Seriously, you do that and suddenly you find yourself watching Jimmy Rollins jumping up and down celebrating back to back titles.

You'll look up and say "What have I done?" just like Alec Guiness in Bridge on the River Kwai when he realizes his efforts helped the enemy.

Trust your friend Sully on this.

After the Aaron Boone game, I decided to NOT watch the 2003 World Series. It was the only World Series since 1979 that I missed!

I knew if I saw the Yankees win, I'd be grumbling "Great! Another Yankee win!"

If I saw the Marlins win I'd say "Why couldn't WE beat them? Are the Marlins that much better?"

So seriously... I am not asking you to take the drastic stance I asked Cleveland fans to take and stop watching sports for the rest of the calendar year.

Just stop watching baseball.

Treat yourself.

Is there a restaurant you always wanted to go to in your neighborhood?
Go tonight.

Have your realized that you've never been to the top of the Empire State Building or to the Statue of Liberty?
Now's the time.

Have you never gone to the Met? The Guggenheim? Ellis Island?

Why not go this weekend? No reason to rush home to see the ballgame?

Do you have a significant other? Take a weekend trip to a place like New Hope... you'll have a peaceful weekend.

OK, maybe not New Hope... too close to Philadelphia... but maybe Connecticut.

Do you have a friend who has been bugging you to go see their jazz band? Or a neighbor who has a bookclub they've asked over and over for you to go to?

Go this weekend!

Plus if you go THIS weekend, they will ask you "Wait, wouldn't you rather be watching the game?"

And you can say "No... I'd rather be here."

And then you NEVER HAVE TO GO AGAIN! Because you will have bought so much good will from them! They'd say "you are such a good friend! You chose me over the World Series!"

And you can remind them of that if they ever invite you again.

Sure it will suck, but how could it suck worse than knowing that either Yankee fans or Phillies fans will be happy?

It's a good thing the Rockies were eliminated

Remember a few weeks ago when the Rockies/Phillies game was snowed out?

OK probably not. Chances are you forgot the Rockies were even IN the playoffs this year. They are stretching the post season out in a ridiculous manner.

It's one thing to stretch a Series deep into October or even into November when say a huge earthquake hits San Francisco... or it is delayed because of September 11th.

But the World Series shouldn't end after Halloween because Fox really wants to promote Glee!

Why you say? Well let's get back to Denver, shall we?

Let's say the World Series would be in Denver rather than Philadelphia (which would be cold enough!) I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it is a smidge chilly.

How cold?

Well my friend Veronica lives in Denver. She took this picture from her front door today.


Can you imagine Fox dragging the cast of Glee, Bones and Hell's Kitchen into a blizzard for a nightgame?

Actually it might be kind of fun.

But this is supposed to be the best match up of the baseball year... and with the Twins moving to an outdoor stadium, there is a possibility for a series of November games in Minnesota and Colorado!

How hard could it be to start the season a few weeks earlier?

Play the last two weeks of March in places like Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Diego, Texas, Houston, San Francisco and cities that have a dome like Tampa, Seattle, Arizona, Toronto and Milwaukee.

Or maybe, heaven forbid, play 5 double headers at home and 5 on the road and wrap the season up in mid September.

Anything to avoid having the World Series played on HOTH!!!

Missing something, Mike?

This off season, I am going to do a bunch of posts on Sully Baseball about baseball cards and some of my favorite ones.

But I am going to jump the gun a little bit and break out this beauty... a 1977 Topps Card of Mike Torrez.

Now this was before Torrez was a Yankee and clinched the 1977 World Series.
This was before he served up Bucky Dent's homer.
This was before he basically derailed Dicky Thon's career.

Here he was, a member of the A's... part of the bounty from Baltimore from the Reggie Jackson trade.

Now I love the posed pictures that Topps used to do and this one is a beaut.

In the empty stadium, Mike is clearly asked to pose in midwindup. I am guessing this is before a game... but then again the A's drew fewer than 800,000 fans that year, so this might very well be during a game.

He of course is doing it along the first baseline. Why not on the mound? Or at least in the bullpen?

But my favorite element to how lazy this picture is... where's his hat?

Seriously. We know this isn't an action photo, but would it have KILLED Mike to put his damn hat on?

Then again look at that beautiful mane of blow dried hair.

I guess putting a bright green lid on that would mess it up!

I'm picking the Yankees to win

It's obviously not what I WANT to happen... but I think the Yankees are on a roll.

If the Yankees win tonight, then it might be a Fox nightmare and yet another short series.

If the Phillies win tonight then it will go 6 or 7 games, but in the end Sabathia is too good and Lidge is just bound to cough one up.

So yeah, it might be tough to swallow, but A-Rod will probably be a champion in about a week.

Yankees over Phillies, 4 games to 2

But keep in mind this... in 2006 I picked EVERY SINGLE POST SEASON SERIES wrong!

In 2007 I picked the Angels and the Diamondbacks to make the playoffs... but my other 6 picks were wrong (including the eventual World Champion Red Sox, who I had missing the playoffs.)

In 2008 I picked the Red Sox to win the World Series... I had never done that before.

This year I picked an A's/Reds World Series...

And this October I had the Cardinals winning the whole thing!

In other words... my predictions tend to stink.

Let's hope the trend continues.

Cleveland Fans... I hope you took my advice

Back when the Cavs were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs, I told you Cleveland fans to just stop watching sports this year.

I hope you took my advice because, to paraphrase a cop on the beat, there's nothing to see here.

You could have done stuff around the house, bonded with your family or even write a book.

Anything other than watching Cleveland sports in 2009.

And it isn't getting any prettier.

Don't believe me?

The Browns are 1-6.

And that one win came against Buffalo in a 6-3 win.

I'm sure that was an exciting game! That's a baseball score.

The Cavs got Shaq... and lost the opener to the Celtics.

Yes I know it is early and the Cavs are the city's best hope these days... 

BUT IT IS EARLY! Turn off the Cavs games until January.

As for Indians fans... ooof

Not only did the Indians drop their last 5 games to finish with the second worst record in the American League just 2 seasons after being a win from the World Series...

But they are handing the car keys to Manny Acta, who managed the Nationals... one of the few teams in baseball WORSE than the Indians. 

And don't watch the World Series either... especially game 1.

2007 Indians Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia taking on 2008 Indians Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee?

Is this a joke?

Seriously Cleveland fans... 
Take the next two months off.

I expect the Nielsen ratings in Cleveland to be 0.0 for the World Series.

I expect the attendance for the November 16th Browns/Ravens game to be 0.

And I expect the Cavaliers to be playing in front of friends, family and wounded war veterans until the January 3rd game against Charlotte.

You don't need to prove your loyalty to anyone.
You need a break.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Sully Baseball's obsession with the last pitch of the World Series continues.

Throwing the clinching pitch of the World Series would be the career highlight for anyone's career. But how many World Series were ended by an All Time Great pitcher?

So today's obsessive list is Hall of Famers who threw the clinching pitch of the World Series.

Now let me set the one ground rule: They have to be in the Hall of Fame RIGHT NOW.

Yes I know Mariano Rivera will be a Hall of Famer eventually, but the key word is "eventually." And if I am still writing this blog 6 years after he retires, I promise to update this list.

Same goes if Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Jenks, Josh Beckett, Adam Wainwright or Brad Lidge wind up having Hall of Fame careers.

So here we go... another list.

Some were complete game masterpieces by aces.
Some were slam the door 9th by closers.

And you'll even see a legendary starter come out of the pen for one of the great moments in World Series History.


CHRISTY MATHEWSON, New York Giants - 1905 World Series

Matty threw a complete game 5 hit shutout with no walks to out pitch Chief Bender and beat the Philadelphia Athletics 2-0 in the Polo Grounds and win the World Series 4-1.

He got Athletics third baseman Lave Cross to ground out to third to end the game.

MORDECAI "THREE FINGER" BROWN, Chicago Cubs - 1907 World Series

"Three Finger" outpitched George Mullin with a complete game 7 hit shutout to finish off the Tigers in Detroit 2-0 and win the Series 4-0 with 1 tie.

Brown struck out Ty Cobb to lead off the 9th and with a runner on first and 2 outs, pinch hitter Boss Schmidt popped up to future Hall of Famer Joe Tinker to give the World Series to the Cubs. (That looks strange even typing it!)

CHIEF BENDER, Philadelphia Athletics - 1911 World Series

Bender took the hill for the 6th game after the Giants held off elimination in Game 5. The Giants scored in the first when right fielder Danny Murphy dropped Red Murray's pop fly.

It was a short lived lead. The Athletics scored three runs on a Jack Barry bunt. Giants catcher Chief Meyers threw the ball into right field, allowing two runs to score. Then right fielder Red Murray threw the ball away allowing Barry to score on his own bunt play. That broke the Giants back and the Athletics cruised to a 13-2 win.

In the 9th, Art Wilson grounded out to third base and Bender and company won the World Series.

EDDIE PLANK, Philadelphia Athletics - 1913 World Series

It was Athletics-Giants again two years later and the Athletics prevailed again, this time in 5 games on the road in the Polo Grounds.

Future Hall of Famer Eddie Plank out pitched Christy Mathewson 3-1 with a complete game 2 hitter.

Giants second baeman Laughing Larry Doyle flew out to right fielder Honest Eddie Murphy (not the actor) to end the Series.

Man nicknames were cooler then!!!

RED FABER, Chicago White Sox - 1917 World Series

The White Sox took care of the Giants in 6 games... AGAIN winning in front of a disappointed crowd in the Polo Grounds. Faber won his third game of the series with a complete game 6 hitter.

Pinch hitter Lew McCarty grounded out to Eddie Collins who threw to Chick Gandil for the World Series clinching run.

2 years later Gandil would be one of the White Sox who conspired to throw the 1919 World Series. Surely an ace pitcher like Red Faber would have been included with the 8 Men Out... but he had the flu and was left off of the playoff roster.

If he was healthy, he may have gone along with the conspiracy. Instead he was ill, innocent and unlike Shoeless Joe Jackson, is in the Hall of Fame.

STAN COVELESKI, Cleveland Indians - 1920 World Series

The Indians won the first of their two World Series titles behind Stan Coveleski's 3 wins in the 5-2 series win over the Brooklyn Robins. (It was best of 9 from 1919-1921.)

Brooklyn only put two runners in scoring position and Coveleski scattered 5 hits and walked nobody.

Big Ed Konetchy grounded out to short to clinch the only World Series the Indians have ever won at home.

- 1926 World Series

It remains one of the greatest and most dramatic relief pitcher performances in baseball history. Just 1 day after throwing a complete game victory in Game 6, Grover Cleveland Alexander was hungover in the bullpen while future Hall of Famer Jesse Haines fell into trouble against the heavily favored Yankees.

Up by 1 in the 7th inning, Haines loaded the bases with 2 out and Tony Lazzeri was due up. Cleveland was summoned out of the bullpen and struck out Lazzeri. After a 1-2-3 8th inning, Old Pete walked Babe Ruth with two outs.

Slugger Bob Meusel was at the plate representing the World Series winning run, but Babe Ruth inexplicably tried to steal second. He was caught and Alexander got the dramatic save and the Cardinals won their first ever World Series title.

WAITE HOYT, New York Yankees - 1928 World Series

Revenge for the Yankees against the Cardinals and Grover Cleveland Alexander came two seasons later. The Yankees pounded Alexander as a starter in Game 2 and as a reliever in Game 4 as they swept their second straight World Series.

Hoyt went the distance in the 7-3 win in St. Louis, a game that saw Babe Ruth homer three times.

Frankie Frisch flew out to Ruth to clinch it.

HERB PENNOCK, New York Yankees - 1932 World Series

The ace of the original Yankee World Champion was slowing down in 1932... but he still had enough in the tank to become a solid piece of the bullpen during the Yankees 4 game sweep of the Cubs. He saved Game 3, the game where Babe Ruth supposedly called his shot.

In Game 4, the Cubs tied the score in the 6th off of Wilcy Moore. The Yankees scored 4 in the 7th to take the lead for good.

In the 9th, Pennock got Riggs "Old Hoss" Stephenson to fly out to Yankee right fielder Ben Chapman to finish the series... the last one Babe Ruth would ever play in.

DIZZY DEAN, St. Louis Cardinals - 1934 World Series

The 1934 World Series was a knock down drag out fight until Game 7. Then it became the Dizzy Dean show as he threw a complete game victory in Detroit and the Cardinals wiped out the Tigers 11-0. Even Dean went 2-5 with a double and an RBI single.

In the 9th inning, Dean got Marv Owen to ground out to Leo Durocher who flipped to Frankie Frisch for the force out at second, clinching the World Series.

LEFTY GOMEZ, New York Yankees - 1937 World Series

Gomez threw a complete game victory in the Polo Grounds as the Yankees took out the Giants in 5 games. Gomez himself drove in the go ahead run in the 5th inning and the Lou Gehrig added an insurance run.

In the 9th inning, The Gause Ghost, Jo-Jo Moore, grounded to Gehrig and flipped to Gomez covering first base to finish off the series.

RED RUFFING, New York Yankees - 1938 World Series

The Yankees won their third straight World Series with a sweep against the Cubs. The finale in Yankee Stadium saw Red Ruffing go the distance in an 8-3 game that was a lot closer than the score would indicate.

A 2 run shot by Cubs catcher Ken O'Dea pulled the Cubs to within 1 in the 8th inning. But the Yankees unloaded on the Cubs bullpen, scoring 4 in the 8th.

Future Hall of Famer Billy Herman hit a grounder back to the mound with 2 outs in the 9th. Ruffing tossed to Gehrig for the final out of the Series. It would be Gehrig's last World Series.

HAL NEWHOUSER, Detroit Tigers - 1945 World Series.

After the Cubs forced a seventh game with a dramatic extra inning Game 6 victory, the Tigers turned to Newhouser, who was bombed in game 1 and won Game 5. Detroit scored 5 runs in the top of the first and it was all Newhouser would need.

Don Johnson grounded to shortstop Skeeter Webb who tossed it to Eddie Mayo at second to clinch the World Series.

To date, it was the last World Series appearance by the Cubs.

SANDY KOUFAX, Los Angeles Dodgers - 1963 World Series and 1965 World Series

Sandy Koufax made his transformation from very good pitcher with control issues to one of the greatest of all time with his World Series dominance in the 1960s. In Game 1 of the World Series, he shut down the mighty Yankees letting up only a home run to Tom Tresh, striking out 15 in the process.

He topped that in the Game 4 clincher in Los Angeles against Whitey Ford. Mickey Mantle hit a solo shot off of Koufax in the 7th but that was it as Koufax let up only 6 hits and walked none over 9.

With two outs and two on in the 9th, Koufax got Hector Lopez to ground out to Maury Wills who threw to former Yankee Moose Skowron to end the Series. (A movie note... this was the series that R. P. McMurphy wanted to watch with the boys in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.)

Two years later, Koufax took the ball on 2 days rest (!!) and threw a complete game shutout against a hard hitting Twins team that scored 5 or more runs in their previous three home games.

Koufax faced Bob Allison representing the tying run with two outs in the 9th. Instead of turning to Don Drysdale or Ron Perranoski, Walter Alston stuck with Koufax, who struck out Allison to clinch the World Series.

BOB GIBSON, St. Louis Cardinals - 1964 World Series and 1967 World Series

Gibson and the Cardinals locked horns with the Yankees, who won the last pennant of their great run. Gibson looked like he was going to cruise to a Game 7 victory with a 6-0 lead until Mickey Mantle hit a three run homer in the sixth. Gibson limped into the 9th with a 7-3 lead but let up homers to Clete Boyer and Phil Linz to cut the lead to two.

With two outs, Bobby Richardson popped up to second baseman Dal Maxvill to end the series and the Yankee dynasty.

Three years later, Gibson came back from a broken leg to shut down the Red Sox and their Impossible Dream pennant of 1967. With the series tied at 3 in Fenway Park, Gibson not only threw his third complete game victory of the Series, but homered off of Boston ace Jim Lonborg for good measure.

With two outs and nobody on, Gibson struck out George Scott to end the World Series and the Red Sox hopes.

ROLLIE FINGERS, Oakland A's - 1972 World Series and 1974 World Series

The most dominating bullpen force of the 1970s clinched his first World Series in a back and forth game between the Swinging A's and the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati. One future Hall of Famer, Catfish Hunter, came out of the pen in the fifth to relieve Blue Moon Odom.

In the 8th, Fingers came into a 3-1 game with runners on second and third and nobody out. He made it out of the inning with a 3-2 lead. In the 9th, Fingers had two outs and one on and faced Pete Rose. A home run would give the World Series to the Reds. Instead Fingers got Rose to fly out to Joe Rudi and the Bay Area had its first World Series Champion.

Two years later, the A's were on the verge of their third straight title. Fingers came into the 8th inning of Game 5 against the Dodgers with a 3-2 lead and made it to the 9th with the lead intact, thanks in part to a base running mistake by Bill Buckner. With two outs and nobody on in the 9th, Fingers got pinch hitter Von Joshua to hit back to the mound. Fingers flipped the ball to Gene Tenace at first to clinch the A's third straight series. Fingers was elected MVP for the Series.

GOOSE GOSSAGE, New York Yankees - 1978 World Series

Gossage finished off the Yankees amazing comeback 1978 season with a two inning save in Dodger Stadium to clinch a second straight title for New York. (Of course Gossage wasn't part of the 1977 squad... he was brought in to be the new closer because evidently Sparky Lyle's Cy Young Award winning season wasn't good enough.)

Gossage relieved Catfish Hunter with 1 on and nobody out in the 8th. He enduced a double play by Bill Russell to get out of the small jam.

In the bottom of the 9th, Gossage got two quick outs before getting Ron Cey to hit a foul pop to Thurman Munson to end the World Series.

BRUCE SUTTER, St. Louis Cardinals - 1982 World Series

The former Cy Young Award winner for the Cubs found a new home in St. Louis, grew a cool beard and found himself on a pennant winner. In a wild back and forth series with the Brewers, Milwaukee had the lead in the 7th game. But without Rollie Fingers, the Brew Crew couldn't hold onto the lead.

Meanwhile the Cardinals had THEIR Hall of Fame closer healthy. Protecting a 1 run lead, he retired two future Hall of Famers in Paul Molitor and Robin Yount and All Star Cecil Cooper. With some insurance in the 9th, Sutter got two quick outs before striking out Gorman Thomas to clinch his lone World Series title.

DENNIS ECKERSLEY, Oakland A's - 1989 World Series

A year removed from their shocking loss to the Dodgers (and Eckersley serving up Kirk Gibson's homer) the A's and Eck seemed poised to finish off their opponents in 1989. The Loma Prieta Earthquake postponed Game 3 for a week, but when play resumed, the A's were unstoppable.

The Giants fell behind 8-0 in Game 4 but fought back to make it a 2 run game. Eckersley came into the 9th with a 3 run lead and got two quick outs. He got speedy Brett Butler to ground to Tony Phillips and covered first himself to put the "Bay Bridge Series" out of its misery.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have a fascination with the last out of the World Series. It was my fantasy moment that I would reenact in my front lawn as a kid… getting the last out and having the team mob me on the mound.

I used to throw my arms up a la Tug McGraw.

Brad Lidge had the honors of being mobbed last October and if the Phillies win the World Series again, there’s the chance he could clinch back to back World Series.

And that got me thinking, who ELSE has clinched World Series in back to back seasons?

Now seeing this is Sully Baseball, I can’t have an idle thought like that without writing a list.

By clinching it, I mean throwing the last pitch of the World Series for an out… not necessarily being the winning pitcher or even getting the save… but getting the final out.

As I write this, I don’t know what the answer will be.

I know Mariano Rivera clinched three straight and would have clinched four straight had the Diamondbacks not rallied in 2001.

I also know off of the top of my head that Rollie Fingers did NOT clinch two World Series in a row even though he was the closer for the 1972, 1972 and 1974 World Champion A’s. Dick Williams had Darold Knowles clinch the 1973 World Series against the Mets.

Also, the closer role wasn’t a dominant position until the late 1960s and 1970s… so I am guessing that most World Series were clinched by starting pitchers.

So, let’s look back at…



The 20 game winner pitched a complete game shutout in Game 8 of the first All New York World Series in 1921. (It was the last year of the best of 9 format.)

The Giants scored the only run of the game on a 2 out error in the first inning. Nehf held the Yankee lineup to only 4 hits as they played without an injured Babe Ruth. Ruth eventually pinch hit for Wally Pipp (what is it about Yankee legends subbing for Pipp?)

THE LAST PITCH (1921): With Aaron Ward on first with one out, Frank Home Run Baker came to the plate as the winning run. Baker grounded out to second and Ward tried to take third where he was gunned down to end the World Series.

A year later, the Yankees and Giants met up again. With one game called for darkness, the Series went to Game 5 with the Giants up 3-0-1. Nehf pitched well but the Yankees had the lead until the Giants rallied off of Joe Bush for a 5-3 lead.

THE LAST PITCH (1922): Aaron Ward again made the final out, this time in a more traditional way. With two outs and nobody one, Ward flew out to right fielders and future Hall of Famer Ross Youngs to give the Giants back to back titles against the Yankees.


Kuzava was a mediocre spot starter and reliever who the Yankees plucked from Washington midway through the 1951 season.

He made only one appearance in the 1951 World Series and only one in the 1952 World Series... but Casey Stengel must have had confidence in him because his lone appearances were the assignment of clinching the World Series

Once again the Giants and Yankees were facing off in an all New York 1951 World Series. Kuzava was brought in to relieve Johnny Sain and stop a Giants rally as they were hoping to tie the series at 3 a piece.


After letting up a pair of sacrifice flies that cut the Yankee lead to 4-3 and had the tying run on second, Kuzava got pinch hitter Sal Yvars to line out to right fielder Hank Bauer to end the series.

A year later, the World Series again stayed within the bounds of New York City. The 1952 Series was between the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers and is considered to be one of the best of all time. Kuzava worked out of a bases loaded jam in the 7th inning, aided by Billy Martin's running catch on Jackie Robinson's pop up. After working around an error in the 8th, Kuzava retired the first two in the 9th.

THE LAST PITCH (1952): Kuzava faced Pee Wee Reese with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. He got a weak pop fly to left fielder Gene Woodling to end the series and have the honor of Yogi Berra jumping on his back.


For all of the books and documentaries and retrospectives of the 1975 World Series, it is amazing how infrequently the last moment is shown.

Yeah Pete Rose, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Luis Tiant, Bernie Carbo, Ed Armbrister, Dwight Evans and Fred Lynn all had amazing highlights...

But it was Will McEnaney who got the final word (and the cover of Sports Illustrated.)

THE LAST PITCH (1975): After the Reds scored off of rookie reliever Jim Burton in the 9th inning, they were poised to clinch their first World Series since 1940. McEnaney got pinch hitters Juan Beniquez and Bob Montgomery for the first two outs. The third batter was a little more challenging: Carl Yastrzemski, who was having a terrific series. With a 2-1 count and Carlton Fisk on deck, McEnaney got Yaz to pop up to Cesar Geronimo, ending arguably the greatest World Series ever played.

A year later, the Reds seemed poised to repeat and have their place in history as one of the greatest teams of all time. They faced the Yankees in the newly remodeled Yankee Stadium (not to be confused with the newly built Yankee Stadium of this year.) It was no contest as the Reds won the first three games and came from behind to take the lead in the 4th game. The Reds pulled away with a 4 run 9th and McEnaney took the mound in the 9th with a 7-2 lead.

THE LAST PITCH (1976): After quickly retiring Otto Velez and Mickey Rivers, McEnaney went 2-0 on Roy White. He flew out harmlessly to George Foster in left field to give the Reds their second straight title and the right to be called a dynasty.


The only one to do it three years in a row and would probably love to see Lidge NOT make this list.

It's amazing when you consider how quickly closers flame out that 13 seasons after exploding onto the scene as John Wetteland's set up man that he is still the best in the business.

He is so cool and so effective than the few times he DID fail are considered to be two of the biggest post seaon upsets in history (the 2001 World Series and the 2004 ALCS.)

And yet there are still morons out there who consider him to be overrated.

The 1998 team is considered to be one of the great teams in baseball history and rightfully so. The Padres actually put up a fight in games 1, 3 and 4... but couldn't hold onto a lead in any of those games. Rivera came into game 4 in the 8th inning and got out of a bases loaded jam. He actually came to bat in the top of the 9th.

THE LAST PITCH (1998): After getting a double play off of the bat of Carlos Hernandez, Rivera faced Mark Sweeney with the bases empty and a 3-0 lead in the game and the series. I remember when I was watching the game I thought "The Padres have the Yankees JUST WHERE THEY WANT THEM!" Sweeney grounded out to third base, completing the sweep and the coronation of the 1998 Yankees.

The 1999 Yankees were great again. They made it past the Rangers and my Red Sox in the playoffs with only one loss and faced the Braves in what was supposed to be a dynasty showdown. It wasn't a contest. The Yankees won game 1 in come from behind fashion, crushed the Braves in Game 2 and won Game 3 on a walk off shot by Chad Curtis.

Game 4 was a formality and it looked like Roger Clemens was going to throw a complete game shutout for his first ring (and denying Rivera a spot on this list.) But for the second straight year, Rivera came into the game in the 8th inning to get the Yankees out of a jam.

THE LAST PITCH (1999): Rivera got two quick outs before facing Keith Lockhart, who flew out harmlessly to Game 3 hero Chad Curtis. Rivera went 1-0 with 2 saves and a 0.00 ERA to earn MVP honors in the World Series.

The 2000 Yankees limped into their title defense with an 87-74 record, but after a scare from the A's made it back to the World Series. And like in 1921, 1922, 1951 and 1952, it was a Subway Series. This time it was the Mets who clashed with the Yankees. While the games were competitive, all but one went to the Yankees.

After scoring 2 in the 9th off of Al Leiter in Game 5, the Yankees gave the ball to Rivera again. Were you expecting Allen Watson?

THE LAST PITCH (2000): With a runner on third and 2 outs, Rivera faced off against Mets hero Mike Piazza, representing the tying run. On an 0-1 count he hit a deep drive that for a moment looked like a game tying homer. But Bernie Williams tracked it down to give the Yankees (and Rivera) 3 in a row. Little did they know that it would be their last title until at least this year.


It thought for sure there would be a few more in there... but alas that's it.

Yeah the Yankees won back to back titles in the 1970s... but in 1977 Mike Torrez closed out the World Series and in 1978 he was too busy serving up home run balls to Bucky Dent.

The Blue Jays won back to back titles in the 1990s, but Mike Timlin clinched the 1992 series and was merely watching in 1993 as Joe Carter slugged that homer.

So maybe Brad Lidge will be added to this list this year...
Or maybe it will be another notch on Mariano Rivera's belt.